Snow, melting from higher temperatures and recent rainfall, has caused several Stateline river water levels to rise. Residents throughout Stephenson County have been preparing as the Pecatonica River overflows.
In Freeport, some are even being evacuated out of their homes as water fills their streets. Freeport rescue crews carried residents through the flooded streets in rafts. Many streets throughout the county remain closed. One resident says she was in shock to see water completely cover her neighborhood.
“This is my first time seeing this,” said Terrisita Johnson. “The fire department when they took us through the water. I was amazed, that water is deep.”
Johnson says she typically would sit still and wait it out — but as the water levels grew — so did her stress. “Just being cooped in since February 21st, I’ve never been in this kind of situation before.”
Sand bag stations are spread throughout Freeport for any residents in need. Sharie Hoster says after experiencing extreme flooding once, she’d rather be safe than sorry.
“The area that I live in is prone to flooding,” said Hoster. “I’ve learned that putting sandbags out before hand and just leaving them low lying areas around my house prevents the water from coming in.”
City officials say they have been preparing for the flooding since Monday. Officers are going door to door to check on residents in flooded areas, but any wishing to be rescued can also call 9-1-1.
“We’ve got crews standing by,” said said Freeport City Manager Lowell Crow. “If, for some reason, it crosses its bank on the western side of the Pecatonica. It’s already crossed it’s bank on the eastern side.”
Crow adds although the Freeport area saw flooding just last summer — the winter temps changes things.
“It’s going to get cold again,” said Crow. “Don’t try to tough it out. This a unique event, this is flooding in February.”
The Red Cross has opened a shelter at Highland Community College for anyone impacted by flood waters. The Freeport Salvation Army will also be serving meals to those who are in need of food.